6 Swimming Parents Roles

6 Swimming Parents Roles

Dr. GJohn Mullen Agustín Artiles, Blog, Uncategorized 2 Comments

A furious father, like many other swimming parents, approaches the coach to complain about his son being left out of the relay team. His wife sitting in the stands openly critiques the coaches’ decision with the other mothers and even has no qualms in insulting the coach, something she fully believes he deserves.

“Look at that imbecile, he’s in the team because he’s his favorite”, she says.

A swimmer gets ready to start. She is not in the best of moods because, only 30 minutes ago, she was told off by her father for a poor turn in the first of the races she swam in. Lacking concentration, she moves slightly on the starting block and is disqualified. She breaks into tears and, heart-broken looks for her coach – her only source of support at this point.

Such situations are very common in swimming, where individual interests are unfortunately becoming more important than those of the team, where unjustified jealousy and hateful comparisons frequently destroy the group harmony and emotional stability of the swimmers.

It is true that – in some cases – there are swimming parents who cross the line, who stick their noses in where they shouldn’t and that some even completely lack empathy with our sport. However, it is also true that there are swimming parents who are genuinely committed to the sport and educational training of their children, who support their dedication and enthusiasm without crossing the line, who contribute their best efforts to improving the training conditions of the swimmers in the team, and who participate with dedication and generosity to the well-being of the swimmer.

We all know of such swimming parents, with whom we sometimes have a friendly chat and with whom we have also had the chance to share pleasant situations and experiences; these parents make every effort to facilitate our job and place all their trust in our hands.

I can think of many ways to express gratitude for your trust, but perhaps the following list of statements to describe the roles of swimming parents.

6 Swimming Parents Roles

  1. They regularly come to the training center, patiently accompanying and supporting their children poolside so they can complete their training session, even when they need to travel far and especially with younger children.
  2. They attend long and monotonous competitions that prevent them from enjoying their days of weekend rest as they deserve.
  3. They stoically accept the failures and disappointments of their children when competition results are not what they hoped for.
  4. They become the source of consolation when their children perform poorly and suffer the bad moods following an unexpected defeat.
  5. They sometimes pay for their children to travel to championships due to economic difficulties at the club.
  6. They are often responsible for covering the cost of activities, which sometimes condition and negatively affect the family economy.

I have no problem in having these swimming parents by my side; moreover, I often need their collaboration, I want them to be with me in the good and the bad times, for them to share our emotions and the burden of our mistakes, for them to respect my work and my decisions even when they don’t entirely agree, and above all to unconditionally support the efforts made by their children, whether the results are what the hoped for or not.

Written by Agustín Artiles (“Champi”). Agustín has more than 35 years of experience as the Head Coach of some of the most important Spanishswimming teams He has been the Coach of the Spanish Swimming Team from 2008 to 2012, and has trained the 50 breaststroke Spanish national recordman, Hector Monteagudo Espinosa, from 2002 to 2013 Agustín has also trained several international swimmers from the Spanish National Team and from the European and world top ten, as well as paraolimpics athletes with medals and world records in all the different categories. He has also been accomplished with the award as the Best competition swimming coach in Spain 2006, as several recognition for professional merits.

Comments 2

  1. The no.1 swimming parent role, if they really want to support their child, is volunteering at events rather than sitting in the stands all weekend, chatting. The sport is nothing without it’s volunteers and officials and without them, your child wouldn’t be able to compete in the first place.

  2. Every story has two sides. In my experience many coaches completely ignore the importance of investing in relationships and that includes parents; and with young people their parents are a huge part of their reference to the world. In any organisation relationships only work when their is sufficient invest in them. I read too many of these articles and arguments bashing parents without any consideration for the enormous role they play in simply logistically and financially supporting the atheletes. Often coaches are not parents themselves and have no perspective on what it means to be a parent. The best clubs I have been part of are the ones where coaches take the initiative and proactively build relationships with parents in order to understand their swimmers more. Rather than arrogantly telling parents what their role is, my advice would be, if you want to be a leader act like one and get to know the people who help your organisation live. For reference we volunteer for everything we have capacity for but still in some clubs this is not appreciated.

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